Definition of shelf
1a : a thin flat usually long and narrow piece of material (such as wood) fastened horizontally (as on a wall) at a distance from the floor to hold objectsb : one of several similar pieces in a closet, bookcase, or similar structurec : the contents of a shelf the author of a shelf of best sellers
2 : something resembling a shelf in form or position: such asa : a sandbank or ledge of rocks usually partially submergedb : a flat projecting layer of rockc : the submerged gradually sloping border of a continent or island : continental shelf
shelffulplay \ˈshelf-ˌfu̇l\ noun
shelflikeplay \ˈshelf-ˌlīk\ adjective
off the shelf
: available from stock : not made to order off the shelf equipment
on the shelf
: in a state of inactivity or uselessness
Examples of shelf in a Sentence
Put the vase on the shelf.
the top shelf of the kitchen cabinet
Will you get that book down off the shelf?
We don't have much shelf space.
Recent Examples of shelf from the Web
Shelf life was elongated, while flavor and nutrition vanished.
Its equipped with a cool bot that keeps the temperature at 40 degrees Fahrenheit so the flowers have a longer shelf life.
But sports, according to Hastings, doesn’t have much of a shelf-life.
In addition to videos, the show features framed excerpts from Mr. Izzo’s journals and photographs of his cluttered shelves.
Drugs were easy to find: a package of heroin on the railing leading to a basement; another batch on a shelf above a nightstand.
A Caribbean-like cave of a place, cabinets and shelves stacked to the ceiling with quality spirits and bitters, a handful of stools, and an enticing bowl of punch front and center.
As expected from a top-shelf phone by Samsung, each device comes packed with cutting-edge tech.
The Reference ShelfSydney home prices had a remarkable February.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'shelf'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of shelf
Middle English, probably from Old English scylfe; akin to Old Norse hlīthskjalf Odin's seat
First Known Use: 14th century
SHELF Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of shelf for English Language Learners
: a flat board which is attached to a wall, frame, etc., and on which objects can be placed
geology : a flat area of rock, sand, etc., especially underwater
SHELF Defined for Kids
Definition of shelf for Students
1 : a flat piece (as of wood or metal) set above a floor (as on a wall or in a bookcase) to hold things
2 : a flat area (as of rock)
Seen and Heard
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